Edy Kizaki

Ballard Old Town Gelato

May 29, 2013 in Ballard, Coffeehouses

Gelateria01 Gelateria05 Gelateria06 A couple of hours to fill on a quiet evening right after Memorial Day.  It’s a serious holiday with a lot of remembrance and giving thanks for those who have gone before, sacrificed, left us so much.  Now in the aftermath of that day of contemplation and an almost dreamy looking back quality, what could be better than to head to Old Ballard.  Ballard Ave seems nothing so much as a street cloaked in 100 years of brick and old wood history.  The shops and restaurants are in premium space, so only the best prevail, and perhaps like New York, San Francisco, or some premier European cities, Ballard is most enjoyable because it is so very much itself.  Granted it may be smaller than some of its illustrious cousins mentioned above, but there is so much per square foot that you will never see it all in one day and you will never tire of it.  Most people that live nearby possessively treasure the Ballard Sunday Market and the surrounding Gelateria05old brick and wood buildings with their gold leaf signed windows and the leafy reflections that seem to cast shadows of the past onto our day.  Mornings the streets are quiet but many arrive in search of the bountiful brunch spreads that the local eateries are renowned for.  Afternoon brings shoppers and fresh diners.  And toward evening, the dinner hour begins with popular happy hours that tempt.  And after dinner the drinking, live music, and socializing brings a lively, swirling crowd.

In among all these lovely choices for treats, we knew exactly where we were headed.  My son wanted to go to D’Ambrosio Gelato which he’d been gazing at from the sidewalk last Sunday while at the Farmer’s Market.  “Mom, there’s a new gelato shop, we should try it!” I didn’t have the heart to tell him it wasn’t new, it has in fact been there several years, because at 11 he’s just starting to notice so much and why not let him be a discoverer in his own right.  We parked about seven blocks away but no worries, every foot of the stroll was worthwhile as there is so much to see and experience.  When we got there, the friendly young man behind the counter offered us tastes before we committed ourselves to a flavor or two.  I tried Caramello al Sale (salted caramel) at my son’s recommendation, and found it rich and creamy and rewarding, and then tried the Variegato Amarena (kirsch cherry) and loved it.  I settled on a cup (small, to be as noble as possible) of cherry and lemonatta, a wonderful duo.  Daniel chose the salted caramel and an orange cream.  The server made an art piece of the mix of the two flavors.  We got a fresh cannoli to take home to Dad, with a choice of filling of either traditional cream or (D’Ambrosia’s theme) pistachio cream, filled while we watched.

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You are invited to taste before you make your flavor choices.Sitting in the window, slowing enjoying the creamy treat while watching the blue light in the street and the people passing, we were in no hurry to go anywhere else at all.  As each couple or group came in and ordered, laughing and joking with the young man serving, the remarkable simple pleasure of the moment seemed to permiate the whole cafe and we stayed quite a while just watching the light change and hearing the murmur of voices as people spent some very quiet and somehow dreamy moments together.  I’d like to keep that moment alive in my soul as the week goes forward, but it is great to know that living here in Ballard, it is quite easy to find our way back anytime we have the impulse to visit and taste the wide variety we have yet to enjoy! (For some insight on the Ballard real estate market this month and to look at some Ballard homes for sale, please go to my Ballard Real Estate Now blog.)

Edy Kizaki

PCC, Green Lake’s Natural Market

February 2, 2013 in Green Lake

PCCfrontOne could call the People’s Community Co-op a true Seattle institution.  PCC is the city’s natural, organic food co-op.  I think of it as a lot like Whole Foods and a lot different.  Being local, it is, you could say, “very Seattle.”  By that I mean community values, green values, a laid back humorous vibe and delicious ripe fresh flavor.  There are nine locations around the Seattle Metro area, this one in Green Lake being my favorite.  It’s near enough to Queen Anne, Ballard, and Wallingford and Fremont, as well as Green Lake.  There are also stores in Edmonds, Fremont, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond, Seward Park, View Ridge and West Seattle.  Along with the fresh natural produce and gourmet health foods and products, PCC PCCoffers a community based member-owned organization. You can shop there without being a member, to join it costs $60 and you have some discounts as a result.  There are also educational offerings, like the Gluten Free Living course and things like the Walk Talk Taste class or the PCC Cooks series on various cooking topics.  There are even some great videos on their website such as Grilled Mushroom Salad With Sesame Vinegrette, Meet Our Producers–River Valley Organics, and Pearing Up Great Flavors for example.

The deli is famous for their exquisite salads, satisfying pizza and prepared foods, and fresh hot soup.  Use the Nutrition Search feature on line to explore what the dishes are made of and what will best suit your criteria (if for example you are gluten free or avoid dairy products or meat it will tell you all you need to know) and there are recipes as well.  There’s also a seasonal produce chart that tells you when each item, be it zchunni, cherries, or purple garlic, is in season locally.  There’s an eating area in the FruitSectionGreen Lake PCC although I would not go so far as to call it a cafe.  A few high tables allow you to perch precariously in the middle of the bustling deli and consume your healthy and nutritious snacks.  If you Olivesprefer a more relaxed atmosphere the cooking classrooms upstairs are also available to eat in unless there happens to be a class going on.

Online too are blogs like “Notes from the Cellar” and one called “Stirfry” that addresses this and that, from GMOs to the top ten receipes of the year.  There are also HealthNotes and Nutrition information, and events, like the upcoming “Valentine’s Day Dash” on February 9th held at Green Lake, part of the Healthy Kids program.  It’s a free non-competitive run and kids receive a gift for participating.

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Edy Kizaki

Walking Around Green Lake – Quiet Winter Haven

February 1, 2013 in Green Lake, Parks and Beaches

GLtreesIt’s three miles around Green Lake on the walking path.  There are actually two paths next to each other, one for those on wheels and the other for those on foot.  In the summer there are boat rentals, tennis WhiteDogcourts, the kids’ playground, the community center with a swimming pool, and sunbathers on the grass.  In winter it’s a quieter scene, but just as intriguing.

One of Seattle’s favorite parks, it is hard to imagine a day any time of year when Green Lake wouldn’t have a steady stream of dog walkers, joggers, skaters (OK more of them in the summer, but…) and even bicyclists making use of the variety of paths and the road that circle the three mile path circling the lake. Want to sit and soak in the beauty? Take a seat on the strategically placed benches. Your toddler wants to mess around in the sand or climb the play equipment? Head for the playground. Basketball? It’s there. Indoor gym and pool? Inside the community center. Grass to picnic on? Yes. Rental boats? Yes. Swimming? Indeed, although that certainly takes place mainly in the summer. And always, people watching.

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In winter the air may be mighty crisp but the walkers and runners circling the lake look intent and happy all at once, if that’s possible to imagine. It’s a factor GreenLake03GreenLake5-2of the quietly stunning scenes you will never fail to encounter if it’s bright and blue or luminously glowing grey with sunset tones and translucent violets. Clean air surrounds you and seems to transport you to a timeless grace where everything is just as it should be and Green Lake is your own personal little slice of heaven.

 

 

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